Category Archives: General Government Idiocy

Abuse of police power, Hawthorne, California style

A man records cops in Hawthone, California.  Note that the man is not even close to the cops but cops don’t like being recorded. And because cops are basically permitted to abuse their powers without fear of consequences, they decide to arrest the guy.  Unfortunately, the guy’s dog gets upset and escapes the car upon which the cops decide to shoot the dog repeatedly.

WARNING: If you don’t want to be upset by the sight of a dog being senselessly and brutally murdered by Gang in Blue (who will undoubtedly be cleared of any wrongdoing), don’t watch the video.

As for the shooter, I hope he rests comfortably knowing that, because of his childish temper and galactic sized ego, a creature of far more significance in the universe than he will ever be, is dead.

[UPDATE 7/3/13]
Reason.com has some further information about this event.  It seems the dog owner has a history with police and police claim they approached him because he was playing his car stereo too loud.

Take your pick. You can’t be both and atheist and a conscientious objector

From HuffPo:

Margaret Doughty, an atheist and permanent U.S. resident for more than 30 years, was told by immigration authorities this month that she has until Friday to officially join a church that forbids violence or her application for naturalized citizenship will be rejected

Doughty stated on her application for citizenship that she could not pledge to bear arms to defend the U.S. due to her moral objection to war.  In response, U.S. Immigration Services told her she couldn’t claim conscientious objector status unless she was a member in good standing of a nonviolent religious organization.  They said a note “on official church stationary [sic]” would do the trick and she needed to have it by her hearing on Friday (June 21).

The idea that you could only morally oppose war if you believe in God is an insult to anyone with an IQ greater than their hat size.  That the U.S. government could suggest such a thing is, well, not that surprising.  It’s not like these kinds of policies (or any other government policies, for that matter) are invented by America’s most gifted citizens.

Oh, and one more thing.  The woman is 64.  Even if she lives to be 100, it is very unlikely that anyone in the U.S. will be asked to participate in a war to defend the U.S.  The U.S. military  hasn’t been involved in a defensive operation in a very very long time.

“Mommy, he’s killing the kittens!”

kittenLast Monday, after a woman called police and complained about cats living in a nearby woodpile, Bob Accorti, the Humane Officer for the North Ridgeville, Ohio Police Department showed up.  Officer Accorti listened as the woman explained the problem and then got a gun out of his truck and  telling the woman the animal shelters were full and the kittens would be going to “kitty heaven”.   He then shot all five of the 8-10 week old kittens in plain view of the family.

Apparently there was some public backlash:

The North Ridgeville Police Department said it was forced to take down its Facebook page for hours on Monday due to “overwhelming abuse.”

In response to a demand from the SPCA that Accorti be fired, Police Chief Mike Freeman released a statement clearing  his department of any wrongdoing.

Presumably, the family didn’t own any dogs or I’m sure they would also be part of the story…

Why we get the police state we deserve…

Nick Gillespie has an article up at The Daily Beast that expands on the phenomenon of people being more accepting of bad policies if they come from their own party.

In the first flush of stories about how the National Security Agency is surveilling American citizens, one stomach-turning revelation hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves: We get the surveillance state we deserve because rank political partisanship trumps bedrock principle every goddamn time on just about every goddamn issue.

Every political issue that captures the public attention invariably degenerates into a political battle between the two parties.  This is a clear indicator that republicans and democrats see every issue as being all about them rather than having anything to do with “what’s best for the country”.  This is true even when their differences are microscopically small, as is it usually is when it comes to war, increasing government power, drug policy, being “tough on crime”, pork barrel spending, balancing the budget, corporate welfare, interfering in other countries, foreign aid, support for Israel, etc, etc.

So, when democrats complain about what a republican does, it makes perfect sense when their concerns suddenly evaporate when a democratic president does exactly the same things.  It’s not about what they do; it’s only about which team they’re on.

The journalist Glenn Greenwald, who jump-started this overdue conversation on civil liberties and the war on terrorism, has promised that the revelations are just getting started. But nothing that comes out can be more dispiriting than the simple truth that Democrats and Republicans are both happy to love Big Brother as long as he’s got the right party affiliation.

Maybe are catching on to this an that’s why Americans want more independents in Congress.

The IRS wants to be a spy agency too!

That monument of responsibility and ethics known as the IRS is buying it’s own surveillance equipment.  You know, like cameras that can be hidden inside a plant.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

News that the IRS is looking to buy surveillance equipment comes at a particularly challenging period for the agency.

In recent weeks, the IRS has been thrust into the public spotlight after Republicans complained that the government agency was motivated by politics, targeting right-wing Tea Party groups that are critical of the Democratic Party and US President Barack Obama.

At the same time, the government agency is coming under fire for wasteful spending.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Last week, a report by the Inspector General detailed nearly $50 million in wasteful spending by the agency on conferences, including IRS employees receiving room upgrades at luxurious Las Vegas hotels, spending $135,350 for speakers, and another $50,000 on a parody video based on the ‘Star Trek’ television show.

Meanwhile, the government agency appears to have broken the very rules it sets down for taxpayers, that is, being able to prove all of its expenses.

Annoying a cop in New York may soon be a felony

The bill has been passed by the Senate and now moves on to the New York State Assembly. From RT

Sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo, Bill S.2402 would make it a felony to “harass, annoy, or threaten a police officer while on duty.”

From the text of the bill:

S 240.33 AGGRAVATED HARASSMENT OF A POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER.
    A  PERSON  IS  GUILTY  OF AGGRAVATED HARASSMENT OF A POLICE OFFICER OR
  PEACE OFFICER WHEN, WITH THE INTENT TO HARASS, ANNOY, THREATEN OR  ALARM
  A  PERSON  WHOM HE OR SHE KNOWS OR REASONABLY SHOULD KNOW TO BE A POLICE
  OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER ENGAGED IN THE COURSE  OF PERFORMING HIS OR HER
  OFFICIAL DUTIES, HE OR SHE STRIKES, SHOVES, KICKS OR OTHERWISE  SUBJECTS
  SUCH PERSON TO PHYSICAL CONTACT.
    AGGRAVATED  HARASSMENT OF A POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER IS A CLASS
  E FELONY.

This really just codifies what cops often do already.  If you aggravate them, they will retaliate by arresting you under some vaguely written laws about disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, or interfering with an officer.

Of course, cops have the right to annoy ordinary citizens all they want. Any civil consequences are paid out of the pockets of taxpayers.

In May 2011, New York homeowner Emily Good was arrested by Rochester police while standing in her yard and videotaping police officers who were performing a traffic stop in front of her house.

As a side note, this story is reported on the front page of RT.com, but I found very few other mainstream outlets  covering it when I did a Google search.   Maybe that will change if the bill becomes law.  RT is one of the few establishment news outlets that relishes publishing stories that embarrass governmental entities in the U.S.  They have an agenda, of course, but their adversarial stance with regard to the U.S. makes them less inclined to mindlessly repeat official governmental declarations as if they are propagating God’s honest truth.  Even  European news outlets are often barely distinguishable from U.S. sources as they are all part of a somewhat homogeneous western media establishment.  You will probably see more libertarian perspective on RT than any other mainstream media source.  RT also has less of the left/right bias common to U.S. media organizations.  They are quite comfortable attacking either side.

Monday Afternoon Links

Deland, Florida police officer, James P. Harris, has been fired for running over Marlon Brown in his police cruiser.  Cops started chasing Brown when a Volusia County deputy noticed he wasn’t wearing his seat belt.  The cop has apparently not been charged with any crimes, but the investigation still isn’t over, so a miracle could still happen.

Remember that case of the Kern County Sheriff’s confiscating video of their deputies beating a David Sal Silva to death?  Well, the coroner’s report now says that the guy’s death was an accident.  Probably not surprising since the Kern County Sheriff, Donny Youngblood, just happens to also be the Kern County coroner.  An independent autopsy is out of the question since Silva’s body was cremated.

According to the Star Tribune, Minneapolis has paid out $14 million to settle 95 police misconduct cases.  Only eight of the 95 cases resulted in any officers being disciplined and, of the 12 costliest cases, no officers were disciplined.   So, basically, cops who abuse their powers get a pass while taxpayers are left holding the bag.  I doubt that Minneapolis differs from most large city police departments in that regard.

New York State chief judge Sol Wachtler was famously quoted by Tom Wolfe in The Bonfire of the Vanities that “a grand jury would ‘indict a ham sandwich,’ if that’s what you wanted.”   Unless the accused is a cop

The Court Martial of Bradley Manning begins today.  This, like the leak of the Pentagon Papers by Danial Ellsberg, Manning will almost certainly be hailed as a hero in the future, but governments learn very slowly and Manning will continue to suffer as the public continues to be largely apathetic.

Meanwhile, the British government is considering talks with Ecuador to discuss the fate of Julian Assange who has been penned up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden relating to a rape investigation.  Assange has agreed to return to Sweden if given a guaranty that he won’t be extradited to the U.S. as part of the Bradley Manning witch hunt.  Assange is currently pursuing a remote campaign for the Australian Senate.  The election will be held in September, 2012. [NOTE:  The link for this story isn’t working because rt.com has been down a good part of the afternoon]

A 3-year-old deaf preschooler in Nebraska is being forced by the Grand Island school district to change the hand sign he uses for his name because it resembles a gun.  “We are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child,” a school spokesperson said.

Dear employees, about next year’s health insurance….

Over at Reason, J.D. Tuccille posted a letter from small business owner, Michael Ortner, to his 23 employees describing all the available options for health insurance in the coming year.  It turns out that it’s just like voting because it’s a choice between multiple evils.

What makes the article worth reading is that it presents a very concise list of what employers can offer their employees along with a short history of how the U.S. got to where it is in dictating healthcare as an employee benefit.  What I found most interesting was the list of four defects in the current healthcare laws because it demonstrates so conclusively that the health care laws do not serve the public they purport to serve.

1) Irrespective of much we decide to spend, we lack freedom in choosing the specific plan that is right for us when we receive it as a benefit from our employer.

2) If we decide to buy health insurance directly (10% of Americans do), we are discriminated against since we do not receive the same treatment from the IRS.  We have to use post tax dollars to purchase it.  This is completely unjust and should be the first thing on an political leader’s agenda when it comes to solving the healthcare problem.  Either everyone should pay taxes on them or noone should.

3) When we develop a treatable medical condition, we are out of luck if we leave our employer since our insurance was tied to that employer and we now have a pre-existing condition.

4) The worst of all…because most of us receive our heathcare as a benefit, we are completely separated from any real knowledge of our actual expenses.  This is the major reason why our healthcare expenses are now through the roof.

This is like the income tax code in the sense that it is so abusive of most ordinary taxpayers that it’s virtually impossible for a reasonable person to think that the government has any respect at all for them at all.  The reason tax laws have become so incomprehensible is that they are a vehicle for politicians to dispense favors to special interests at the expense of ordinary citizens.  In other words, tax law is the face of government corruption and the very same thing is true for healthcare law.  The real beneficiaries are the healthcare and insurance industries while the ordinary citizen is saddled with a narrow one-size-fits all range of options designed by bureaucrats in partnership with those beneficiaries.

What is really astonishing is how young people, the healthiest segment of society, sit idly by as the government increasingly burdens them with subsidizing healthcare for those who are  less healthy.  These are, of course, the people who are lower on the income ladder, but who also face the costs of starting a family, buying a home, and paying off their college loans.

 For example, there is no way most 23 year old single people should be spending $500/month on health insurance.  That’s a bad deal for most 23 years olds and if given the choice most should take at least half of that in cash and save it/invest it.  23 year olds are already getting stuck with higher premiums on auto insurance since they are higher risk drivers; by the same principle, they should be paying much lower premiums since they are generally less at risk health-wise.

The single short-coming people have in their political beliefs has less to do with whether they lean left or right but rather their stunning lack of skepticism about the supposition that the government has their best interests at heart.   World history is the history of government officials serving their own interests to the detriment of their citizens.

Legalizing pot offers Colorado legislators new opportunities to micromanage everyone’s life

Essentially, legalizing pot is opens the door for government to dictate everything about the industry.  They’ve gone from no control when it was illegal to wanting to micromanage everything about it.  And you can bet the regulations will continue to become increasingly complex.  Jacob Sullum, over at reason.com, explains.

Exxon-controlled no-fly zone over Arkansas oil spill?

Not sure what to make of this, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has apparently established flight restrictions over the site of an oil spill in Arkansas. Furthermore, according to Arkansas Online:

The FAA site noted earlier Wednesday that “only relief aircraft operations under direction of Tom Suhrhoff” are allowed in the zone. Lunsford said later Wednesday that officials were amending the restriction to also allow news media aircraft.

Suhrhoff is listed on a LinkedIn profile as an aviation advisor for ExxonMobil. A message left with a media line for the oil company wasn’t immediately returned.

Solon has a report on it here.

What strikes me as most interesting is that, aside from RT, there apparently hasn’t been a peep out of the establishment news outlets about this. I have no idea how common such flight restrictions are in the U.S., but it is inevitable that there will be lawsuits over this oil spill and the idea that the company responsible for the spill has been empowered to prevent low-flying aerial news coverage of the damages seems fairly irresponsible.